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Published: 2017-08-09 10:00:00

The drive to help protect the Waikato’s waterways has been given a $1.64 million boost with funding to two key projects.

The money, part of national grants totalling $44 million announced by the Government, has been warmly welcomed by Waikato Regional Council.

One of the Waikato projects, aimed at addressing water quality and enhancing the habitat at Lake Whangape, has received just over $900,000. This $2.8 million project is a partnership between the council, Department of Conservation, Waikato-Tainui, Waahi Whaanui Trust and Nga Muka Development Trust.

The other project, which is getting a $740,000 boost, is a partnership between the regional council and Pūniu River Care Incorporated to improve water quality along a 16 kilometre stretch of the Pūniu River.

“We really appreciate this Government funding which will help us greatly at Whangape and for the Pūniu,” said council chair Alan Livingston.

“We have a strong focus on boosting water quality in our region in partnership with others.”

At Lake Whangape, sedimentation and nutrient loading from intensive dairying, coupled with aggressive spread of alligator weed, has led to a decline in the water quality and habitat. The project being part-funded by the Government will restore the health of the lake and associated wetlands through:

  • fencing to exclude stock
  • revegetation of lake margins and wetlands
  • accelerated alligator weed containment
  • implementation of a kaitiaki monitoring framework.                                                      

Meanwhile the work at the Pūniu River, valued at more than $2 million in total, aims to improve water quality, the mauri of the awa and to help restore indigenous fish habitat and terrestrial biodiversity.

Activities include riparian fencing to exclude stock, erosion protection works and the planting of 160,000 native trees. It will also involve the creation of a bilingual guide for marae-based restoration to enable growth in the development of other new organisations undertaking similar activities.